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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Le 65 billion unexplained

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Le 65 billion unexplained

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Principal Auditor, Alfred Saffa, confirmed that two hundred and seventeen ministries, departments and agencies were audited in 2015 and about Le 65.4 billion could not be accounted for by those MDAs. 

The ministries of education and defense were among others said to be high risk government ministries.

Among rules often flouted were procurement procedures and the non issuance of valid receipts for transactions to auditors. He also stated that with all the numerous recommendations to MDAs by the auditors not even 29 per cent has been implemented.

The launch was well attended by civil society groups, political party representatives, government institutions, university students and among others.

In his welcome address, Martin Sandi, communication officer with ASSL highlighted key responsibilities of the institution, key among them being auditing all MDAs and submitting their report to parliament.

He went on to state that their work was not to detect fraud or error in   MDAs, but they had the mandate to ensure that public funds were utilized for the common good and for addition of value to the country’s  economy.

Sandi added that a similar exercise had been carried out in the other four district headquarter towns in the north – Kambia, Port Loko, Magburaka and Kabala.

Aiah Gbondo Togbowa, assistant auditor general, north, gave a brief background of the institution, stating that it previously existed as auditor general’s department and until 2004 when it finally had its operational independence.

He mentioned their mandate including auditing the expenditure of government resources collected, as taxes, or donor funds allocated to various MDAs and to ultimately present an annual report known as Auditor General’s Report to parliament.

He continued that their mandate as an institution was only limited to reporting and not to find institutions wanting.

Speaking on their past and present findings as an audit service, Togbowa said the Anti-Corruption Commission, ACC, had over the years acted robustly on past reports, but every year similar loopholes emerged despite the many recommendations to MDAs. He stressed on the limited power of the service as a bottleneck in executing compliance to state actors.

On the part of participants, they suggested a lot of recommendations if sanity were to be in the financial and performance audit.

They called for the review of the mandate of audit service, the political will to enhance compliance by MDAs, referring to audit reports before allocating funds to MDAs, presenting audit reports to ACC rather than parliament and among others.

In rounding up the assistant auditor, north, said they had noted all the recommendations by participants and promised that they would be forwarded to the team for utmost attention.

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